Review of the ATARU TAIKO percussion group

The ATARU TAIKO percussion group was founded in 2006, in Hungary, but the members of the group performanced a lot together and in private in the previous years as well. They tried to play other musical genres when they finally find the taiko, the style of drumming in group.
Since that, the group gave more than 400 concerts, which performances were a success without an exception, thanks primarily to the fact, that the formation shows from time to time a so called drummer theater, which is coloured with spectacular and varied coreographed elements and it is famous for its energetic way of drumming and for its dynamism.
The group consists of 10 members at the moment. There is a tradition in the life of the formation. There is in every year a brand new show, which is always presented first on the so called „Sakura” concert. The first Sakura concert was organised in 2008.
The concerts of the ATARU TAIKO offer an excellent entertainment facility, independently of age, among the people who desire a demanding pastime.
By the developing of the stage presence we took into consideration the specificities of the japanese traditional music.

The history of TAIKO

Once a very long time before the appearance of humanity, Susanowo-no-Mikoto, the God of the storm left its home to destroy the land. This chaos was so annoyed by his sister, Ameterasu Ohmikami the goddess of the sun, that she fled to a cave and rolled a rock in front of the entrance. The world fell into darkness. The devil could freely move in the endless night of the earth. The other gods saw that all life was doomed, they gathered at the entrance of the cave. They asked, begged, threatened by the god of the sun to come out. But it does not budge. The fate of all earthly creature seemed to be decided when a small, wizened, old goddess stepped out from the others, and claimed that she would attract the Sun. The mighty gods mocked and laughed at the old woman, who smiled at them. She poured out the contents of a huge barrel, jumped to the top and began a wild dance. The loud, hard, boisterously beating feet, unheard rhythms revived, which is soon infected by the other gods as well. They began to dance and sing. Music filled the land, which has attracted the interest of Ohmikami Ameterasu, and came out of the cave which providing security for her. The Sun shone the world again and the TAIKO music was born.

The legend explains that one of the oldest musical instruments is the drum. On the earth where human culture evolved, before the writing, began the development of various percussion instruments. Although we can talk about so many continents and so many types of drum, it can be said that all were in a similar way. In particular, the development of it defined its function uses. It was used: in telecommunications, (drum post) in religion, for entertaining, and in tactics as well.

The meaning of TAIKO is bass drum. The appearance of the exact date is unclear, mainly because of Japan’s isolation. From some archaeological finds the scientists conclude that more than 4,000 years ago appeared the ancestors of today’s drums on the island.

Of course, the influx of Buddhism from China and Korea strongly influenced the development of musical instruments. This cultural influence disappeared around 900, and basically from this time the development are due to the Japanese manufacturing. Of course its uses have wide range in Japan.

It was used to coordinate the military of the imperial troops and transmit various commands. Supposedly a proper sized TAIKO can be heard from 3 km apart. In addition to, due to their size the instruments were also suitable to deter an enemy. Because of its strong heather, it was an excellent use of telecommunications. For the transmission of information between villages  different conventional rhythmic patterns have been developed, and drumming these they told them the important information: storm approaching, the fire was coming, or fun stuff: weddings are held, a successful hunt, etc.. This is perhaps the oldest use of the drums.

Do not forget the religious significance of either instrument. It is the indispensable accessory of the Buddhist and Shinto rituals. It is believed that each drum connected to the spirit of an ancestor. And later perhaps from this way emerged the cultural use of the instrument. It is the integral part of the Japanese kabuki theatrical performances accompanying orchestra, and an indispensable part in many festivals held in the island nation.

In the 1950s, this versatile using, and back into the distance traditional past initiated the idea of Oguchi Daihachi, the Japanese jazz musician, and formed the first modern Taiko band. Today, thanks to the resounding success worldwide more than 10,000 Percussion Group was formed, and entertain the crowd with this incredibly catchy musical style.

Taiko, the musical genre

The taiko, or in other words wadaiko are japanese words, which mean: japanese drum. Exactly it is a type of a
membranofon percussion instrument which is traditionally used in Japan.
But from the middle of the 1950′ the expression “taiko” means a style of music as well, which is played on the japanese drums
in a group. This was developed by Oguchi Daihachi.

The taiko, as a style of drumming in a group, is a relatively young type of art, despite the fact that its history looks back on
more hundred years. In the past half century the taiko became so famous, that more then 10000 groups was founded in Japan, mainly
with 12-15 members per groups. The taiko drumming is so attractive that a lot of group was founded in America, in West-Europe, in
Australia and in other countries as well. In the Middle East Europe this genre couldn’t be found until 2000. In our region the
first japanese percussion group was founded in Hungary, but today it is not the only one.

This attractive and spectacular musical genre is easily recognizable about the movement culture which accompanies the drumming.
The drummers perform it themselves while they hit the “leather”. There are characteristic drums too. These drum’s sizes cover
from the quite small to the giant, which diameter can be more meters. Beside the drums there are other instruments too. (percussion,
stringed, blower,etc..)

Basic instruments:

▪ Nagado-daiko (miya-daiko)

▪ Hirado-daiko

▪ Odaiko

▪ Okedo-daiko

▪ Shime-daiko

▪ Uchiwa-daiko

Additional instruments:

▪ Atarigane

▪ Dora

▪ Shinobue

▪ Shamisen

▪ Koto

▪ Chappa

Complementaries:

▪ Bachi